If you are as passionate about travel as I am, then this blog post is going to rock your world! In fact, if you don’t get close to wetting your pants with enthusiasm, I will be quite disappointed.
One of the two biggest expenses involved with travel is lodging. The other is the travel itself (of course). If you can cut down on the cost associated with your lodging, you can very quickly extend the length of your trip.
An Australian friend told me of a buddy of his that decided to go to India and surf until he ran out of money. He didn’t have much, but he was able to find a hostel for $1 a day. He had a great time until, after a couple of months, he realized that his money was running low. Another month or so and he would be out of cash. Then, one day while walking along the beach, he came across another hostel that would cost him just $0.25 a day. Boy was he thrilled! With his lodging costs down to a quarter, he was able to extend his vacation a couple more months.
Although most of us may not be able to cut our lodging expenses down to 25% (at maintain the quality we desire), we can certainly save ourselves a bit of money – 17% to be exact. And the beauty of this savings is that it works on every hotel! You don’t have to cut down on quality to enjoy these savings.
Here are the three steps to save 17% off of the cost of your hotel stay.
Step #1: Use a Rewards Credit Card to Save 1%+
You do have a credit card that gives you cashback or miles, correct? My favorite card is the Chase Freedom card. This card, with no annual fee, offers me 5% cashback on special categories every quarter, and 1% cashback on everything else. Every time I spend $100, I get a bonus $1. That doesn’t seem like much, but when you add gas, groceries, and entertainment, it can easily become a couple of hundred dollars extra every year.
Depending on your credit score, willingness to pay an annual fee, and interest in miles, you may be able to get a card that pays you 1.5-2% back on all of your purchases. So really, this 1% is just the beginning.
Find the best reward credit card for you, and watch the points grow.
Step #2: Purchase Your Hotel Stays on Hotels.com to Save 10%
Hotels.com lists virtually every hotel around the world. Not only do they make it easy to compare hotels in a city, but you can rest assured that you will receive an exceptionally good price on your hotel of choice.
But wait, there’s more.
The primary reason why Hotels.com is such a great place to purchase your lodging is that, for every 10 nights you buy through this site, you get 1 night free! Although there are some hotel chains that will give you a free night with every 5 or 7 stays, you are restricted to the same hotel chain. With Hotels.com you can stay one night at the Marriott, one night at the Hilton, and another night at a local bed and breakfast – and all of these stays will count towards your free night.
Therefore, by purchasing your hotel stay through Hotels.com, you can find yourself with an additional 10% of savings through the free night you receive
Step #3: Use Ebates or Swagbucks for an Additional 6% in Savings
Swagbucks.com is a website that gives you points for making purchases and completing tasks online. As you can redeem 2,500 Swagbucks for $25 in Paypal cash, each Swagbuck is essentially worth a penny.
You can earn Swagbucks or Ebates cashback for much of your online shopping – including Hotels.com. Any order placed on Hotels.com earns you between 2-6% back depending on the current offer. Therefore, when you spend $500 on a week long vacation, you are making $30. Sweet deal!
In addition to Hotels.com, you can earn Swagbucks for virtually any online purchase through Amazon, BestBuy, Groupon, etc. So sign up for a free Swagbucks account or Ebates account and start earning extra money back when you travel.
How Do You Save on Travel?
In short, following these three steps can give you almost two free days of lodging for every two weeks that you spend traveling. Not a bad starting point. Of course, I know that there are many other ways to save when you travel. What methods do you use to stretch your dollars when traveling?